When it was clear we were no longer warming on schedule, the remaining journalists dutifully pooh-poohed the global warming concept then and declared that climate change was what they meant all along. The planet would not, of course, warm globally, it might not even warm. That was a smart tack during those late spring blizzards.
Not today. One journalist has declared it was global warming all along and his proof is heat in the Eastern US. Yet for the last few years we have been told local temperature data isn't the story - because there was no warming.
Most climate cientists aren't saying anything so stupid as 'this heat wave is global warming proof', of course. But Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein has a ready reason for that too:
Nor will they say global warming is the reason 3,215 daily high temperature records were set in the month of June.Translation; they won't because they are too cautious but he will. And, since there are no miracle vegetable cures or garden hoses to write some scare journalism about, why not invoke
Horrendous wildfires. Oppressive heat waves. Devastating droughts. Flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm called a derecho.Next we are reminded by the AP that climate scientists have said since 1988 that global warming was going to happen. Except for that period when it wasn't happening and it was climate change and not global warming. And he gives the world an "I told you so" from Kevin Trenberth, head of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.
How funny. The so-called "ClimateGate" emails showed Trenberth writing
Well I have my own article on where the heck is global warming ? We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. We had 4 inches of snow. The high the last 2 days was below 30F and the normal is 69F, and it smashed the previous records for these days by 10F. The low was about 18F and also a record low, well below the previous record low….So global warming wasn't happening and now that there is a heat wave he says he says he said it was there all along?
The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate.
Sorenstein is clearly no science journalist, since he invokes "the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change" in such reverential terms - as we all know, the IPCC has revealed they never had the best climate scientists, they have said their ongoing policy was diversity in gender and geography.
I don't want to be too harsh at a resurgence in terrible science journalism so I will note Sorenstein isn't completely in the bag for advocacy. John Christy from the University of Alabama in Huntsville is quoted as saying "The guilty party in my view is Mother Nature" but then immediately dismissed as a global warming skeptic. Good, we wouldn't want any false balance in our false journalism.
You should give his piece a look. I read more uses of the term 'global warming' in one article today than I read in the last three years. It feels like that dark period of anti-science media hysteria in America, those days of 2006, when partisan cranks hijacked science publishing to mobilize votes for politicians they liked.
Heat records, of course, do not mean much. Anyone who tells you they have 'accurate' temperature records before 1980 is making it up. And a great deal of local temperature data, as anyone living outside cities knows, is someone in their backyard reporting a temperature to a local news station using their home thermometer.
Is this the hottest summer ever? I can go back to Pennsylvania and sit in front of the Agway in my old hometown and ask, and at least three old guys will tell me plenty of stories about how it was much hotter when they were young. People need to feel like they live in important times. That apparently includes AP reporters.
Welcome back, global warming. Mainstream journalism missed you. Until it gets cold again, then put your climate change trousers back on. Because we have to blame smaller leaves on you then.